Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Things you are probably doing wrong

I'm fascinated by common misconceptions of any type, like how so many people think blood is blue until you get cut and the air instantly oxygenates it (totally believed this for decades; I think they actually teach it in high-school science classes). Now I'm trying to think of a list of common products or tools that everyone uses incorrectly. Here's what I've got so far:
  1. Deodorant: You've heard me bang this dead drum before, but it bears repeating: You're supposed to put it on at night!
  2. Aluminum Foil: Apparently you're supposed to use the dull side for some tasks and the shiny side for others. Never mind, the current consensus is it doesn't really matter. Anyway, most people don't set up the box correctly. Yes, there is a correct way to set up the box so the foil doesn't come flying out (same goes for plastic wrap). Full credit to John for being the one to figure that out.
  3. Monopoly: I've been playing Monopoly wrong my entire life. Maybe this is why I hate it.
Aaaaand that's all I've got. That's where you, Dear Reader, come in. So enlighten me, please, what am I doing wrong?

P.S. Just in case you haven't heard my favorite Saran wrap joke, it goes like this: Guy walks into a psychiatrist's office, completely naked except for a layer of Saran wrap. The doctor says, "I can clearly see you're nuts."

P.P.S. Just in case you haven't listened to Bossypants "on tape," here's a good joke from the audiobook (maybe the real book too?): Two peanuts are walking down the street, and one of them's a salted. (According to @excitedstoat, the actual source is Monty Python, or at least it's the older of the two.)


  1. Wait -- I always thought the 'saulted-peanut joke was from an episode of Monty Python where the Germans are trying to defeat the Brits (in WW2) with humo(u)r. It's def. better in a fake German accent.

  2. Oh really? Bossypants is where I heard it first. Guess listening to Bossypants instead of watching Monty Python is another thing I'm doing wrong.

    Got anything to add to the list?

  3. I can only find the 10-min version of this clip, -- it's near the end; the clip is a little on the long dilute side like so much of _Python_. I like the Flying Circus in general but am not sure I would recommend it. And I'm sorry but I have a terrible memory for jokes; I can never think of any without priming; I tend to remember them just in time not to be amused by the punchline.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Q.: What's brown and sounds like a bell?

    A.: DUNG!...

    (Another one from Monty Python...)


    For the list of doing things wrong--

    Rock salt. If you live in a winter climate, and you're going to use rock salt to cut away ice on the sidewalk, it works better to scatter the salt before it snows. (If the forecast says snow tomorrow morning, scatter the salt tonight.)

    If you put down salt before it snows, the snow won't stick as much to the pavement, and there will be less ice when the snow melts, and in general the snow and ice will be easier to scrape off.

    Then put down more salt for any patches of ice remaining, and put some sand on the icy patches for traction.

  6. Ah, see, I didn't know that either! Though I've never actually put salt out at any stage. That's good to know though.

  7. I shower in the morning so I would wash off the deodorant if I put it on at night.

  8. The idea is that antiperspirant works by having a chemical effect on your armpits, and it needs time to take effect. It's not a physical barrier, so when you shower doesn't matter.

    According to Consumer Reports:

    "At night, when people perspire less, more of the antiperspirant's aluminum-based active ingredient is pulled into the sweat ducts. Because there's more antiperspirant present, it more effectively plugs pores.

    That signals the sweat glands to reduce or stop perspiration. The effect lasts 24 hours or possibly longer, even after morning bathing. Eventually, the antiperspirant washes away. Blocking perspiration by plugging pores might sound unhealthful, but it's not, medical experts we consulted said."

  9. P.S. The same may not be true for natural deodorant, but in my experience, natural deodorant doesn't work anyway.

    And evidence that aluminum in deodorant is bad for you is pretty minimal/questionable.

  10. Why use antiperspirant at all? Why should we be ashamed to sweat?

    I like women with hairy armpits sans antiperspirant. The similarities between me and Napolean probably end there.

  11. Shame is part of America! Personally I wear antiperspirant so I don't have to wash my clothes as often. But I only wear it in the summer here -- one of the amazing things about Denver is that it's so dry you don't sweat.

  12. would just like to mention that the whole point of the Python bit was that it was the World's Deadliest Joke, that would kill you if you read it, and when it was translated into English it was terrible.

  13. That's funny! But I like the joke?!

  14. I heard the saran wrap joke on Youtube. It was in clip of Sleater Kinney and the drummer Janet Weiss tells the joke between songs. Probably from like 2000. Couldn't go back and find the clip though. Good joke. I smiled.